London Grammar look set to be the soundtrack of everyone’s summer this year with their new single Sights about to be unleashed to the masses, but apart from their singles, much of the bands late night introspective pop charms have passed me by and this is due to one reason only, which is quite simply because you won’t find London Grammar on Spotify.
I live in a world where as a consumer, my £9.99 subscription to Spotify gives me instant access to any song that I can think of and this also allows me to create endless playlists to suit my mood or surroundings, so to be brutally honest, if a band are not on Spotify, I am more than guilty of hitting a big red buzzer and shouting the words NEXT….
So anyone looking for an answer to the big question, “Why are London Grammar not on Spotify” it’s simply because the trio are signed up to the Ministry of Sound label in the UK , who have a reputation of standing up to Spotify who they seem to regard as bully boys in the music industry.
A recent interview in Music Week entitled “London Grammar ‘teaching the music business important lessons’ with the co-founder of the band’s management company Big Life, Jazz Summers, said “As a user, Spotify’s great. It’s very user-friendly. But I’ve got a big problem with them advertising ‘free music’. You know, it’s like: let’s shoot ourselves in the head, shall we? Kids thinks music’s free anyway. They could be educated to pay money. Spotify should be saying ‘all this exceptional music just £10 a month’.”
Summers told Music Week he was broadly an advocate of ‘windowing’: the practice of introducing released music onto streaming services only after it’s been exclusively available to buy for a set period.
“One answer is not to let Spotify have new music that’s just been released,” he said. “You see movies in the theatre before they’re on DVD or whatever else. If Spotify want to sell a download like iTunes for the first three months, fine. But they don’t. No- one really thinks this stuff through”
“On that point, Steve Jobs took the music business to the cleaners. He decided: ‘Okay, everyone’s panicking about file-sharing. I’ll create something that sells billions of iPods.’
“He decided a dollar [per song] was the price [on iTunes] and instantly reduced the value of records overnight. He didn’t give a shit – he was in the business of selling iPods. And, unbelievably, all the record companies went along with it.”
So in a nutshell, this new approach consists of iTunes and physical releases being the equivalent of a cinema release with Spotify as the eventual TV version, complete with annoying adverts. Wild Beasts also adopted this same method with their Top ten album ‘Present Tense’.
The familiar all you can eat Spotify or Google Play style package was originally launched as an antidote to illegal downloading and bring the record industry into the 21st century and the only risk of more and more bands withholding their material is that the whole system could be in danger of collapse, which would only send us back to the 90’s where illegal downloads rule our personal digital airwaves.
For me personally, I can say that a Spotify subscription has opened my eyes and broadened my musical horizons to discover a whole world of acts that I would never have got to listen which has also increased how many gigs I have attended.
This has to be better than a guy called ‘Dodgy Dave’ approaching you at work saying “Do you want a copy of the new London Grammar album because it’s not available on Spotify” Right or wrong this is the reality of the modern way that people access their music and the ultimate reason this interesting experiment has failed.
As for the band themselves, their credibility suffered the worst knock to be inflicted on any band as David Cameron desperately trying to appeal to younger voters announced he was a big fan of the minimalist pop trio in a bid prove he is down with the kids.
The thought of David Cameron sat in his favourite armchair at number 10 playing Fruit Ninja on his iPad with London Grammar playing in the background is a much scarier thought than anything a music streaming service could ever do to the music industry.